Sunday, May 8, 2011

Indulge me, it's Mother's Day.....

She is bright and talented. She is energetic and resourceful, at least once she stops worrying about everything. She is beautiful and strong.

She is my 27 year old daughter, the child I had when I was 35, after proclaiming for years that I never wanted children at all. My first husband and I both wished to be childless. He still is. But at age 30, a different beat began in my soul, starting as a soft wordless chant that became louder as the years passed, until my body fell into step and I knew it was time. There was no denying it.

I married again to follow that need. I know that now. I didn't want to admit then that my desire for a child was the reason for that second walk down the aisle. Today, women routinely forgo the walk while still fulfilling their need for children. I'm sometimes a rebel today, but not so much in the '80s. The marriage lasted four years. I got what I wanted.

So there I was, chasing a toddler around as I turned 40. And she ran as soon as she could walk. Everywhere. I took her to the mall often, not because I had any money to shop (I didn't), but she could run there without curbs or potholes to trip her up. I could follow along without losing sight of her, at least not often. She ran through T-Ball and soccer, basketball and softball. She ultimately ran on to college still chasing a ball tied to the strings of a scholarship. She fell often, jumped up and dusted herself off.....and ran some more. She wore me out.

It wasn't easy having a teenager in the house when I was in my 50s, one that entered puberty at the same time I hit menopause. Too bad we couldn't exchange hormones. I was destined to wait, though, to honor my earlier commitment to be childless when most women are happily pregnant in their 20s. My child needed me to be older for some reason.  And it has filled my spirit beyond belief.

Today I am careful to respect her natural need to be an adult with a life set by boundaries between us. Painful, yes....but necessary for her. It thrills me when my phone rings each day and she chats me up about her day, all the good and the bad and the mundane. She listens to my advice. I know she does. Sometimes she even follows it. And she knows that I am always here for her. As the teenagers I once taught put it, "I have her back." She knows she can rely on me for whatever she needs, as much as I can provide it, without question. And if I can't provide it, I offer ways she can get it herself.

It is Mother's Day today. I've often said that being a mother has been the most delightful, rewarding role in my life.

But that's a lie, I have to admit.

The truth is that being the mother of this child is why I was brought into existence myself. It's that simple and that exquisite.

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